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Henrik Dam Discovers Vitamin K

Who:Henrik Dam
When:January 01 1929
How: By experimenting with chicks on a low cholesterol diet. When the chicks starting bleeding uncontrollably he fed them cholesterol and an extra substance, later identified as vitamin K.
Institution: Copenhagen University
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark

In 1929, Danish scientist Henrik Dam investigated the role of cholesterol by feeding chickens a cholesterol-depleted diet. After several weeks, the animals developed hemorrhages and started bleeding. The bleeding could not be stopped with purified cholesterol alone. In addition to the cholesterol, a second compound had to be added to the food, which came to be known as the coagulation vitamin or vitamin K. The new vitamin received the letter K because the initial discoveries were reported in a German journal, in which it was designated as Koagulationsvitamin (Vitamin of Coagulation).

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  1. Nobel Prize Page on Henrik Dam


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